In 2003, Brown University appointed a Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to investigate the University’s historical relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Its report and the initiatives the university undertook in response to the committee’s work helped the campus and the nation reflect on the meaning of this history in the present and on the complex historical, political, legal, and moral questions posed by any present-day confrontation with past injustice. The Committee presented its final report to President Simmons in October 2006. On February 24, 2007, the Brown Corporation endorsed a set of initiatives in response to the Committee’s report.
The history of Jim Crow encompassed every part of American life, from politics to education to sports. This section is a good place to begin to access historical background, source material, and lesson plans that utilize the materials in the Geography, Literature, and Teacher Resources sections. We suggest that you begin your exploration of Jim Crow history by reading the themed essay, "From Terror to Triumph", below, in order to get a holistic look at Jim Crow from many angles.
By Ronald L. F. Davis, Ph. D
California State University, Northridge
How to Out A Sundown Town (2008)
After the Civil War, newly-freed black families spread out across the country, looking for places to start over. By 1890, there was hardly a town in America that didn't have at least a small community of black tradesmen or farmers -- aspiring families putting down roots and planning better futures. There was no town too small, no corner so remote, that a handful of African-Americans didn't take refuge there -- hoping against hope they'd finally found a place that was far enough away from Jim Crow…. Starting in the 1890 census -- and continuing up until the 1950 one -- these communities started to vanish from the census figures. Towns that had 50 or 60 African-Americans in one census had exactly zero in the next. It was like watching these small lights just wink out, as these communities one by one went sundown.
James Loewen talked about his book Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, published by New Press. The book chronicled the history of towns and neighborhood that were closed to African-Americans. The author pointed out that most of these towns outside of the traditional South in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Professor Loewen explained that "Sundown Towns" used policemen, fire, bricks, and signs to force blacks out of the suburbs and into the ghettos. He asserted that although the tactics to exclude blacks may not be as blatant, these towns are still very much in existence.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings –by encouraging the reproduction of people with "good" genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes. Eugenicists effectively lobbied for social legislation to keep racial and ethnic groups separate, to restrict immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and to sterilize people considered "genetically unfit." Elements of the American eugenics movement were models for the Nazis, whose radical adaptation of eugenics culminated in the Holocaust.
[E]xperience the unfiltered story of American eugenics – primarily through materials from the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, which was the center of American eugenics research from 1910-1940. In the Archive you will see numerous reports, articles, charts, and pedigrees that were considered scientific "facts" in their day. It is important to remind yourself that the vast majority of eugenics work has been completely discredited. In the final analysis, the eugenic description of human life reflected political and social prejudices, rather than scientific facts.
Blood in the Face (1991) 1:14:49
A searing 1991 documentary on the history of Aryan Nations and other neo-nazi groups. Includes appearances by Don Black, Thom Robb, Jack Moher, Allen Poe, John Ross Taylor, Bruce Pierce, Alan Berg, David Duke, Glenn Miller, and George Lincoln Rockwell. Created by Kevin Rafferty, Anne Bohlen, Jam
Project Implicit blends basic research and educational outreach in a virtual laboratory at which visitors can examine their own hidden biases. Project Implicit is the product of research by three scientists whose work produced a new approach to understanding of attitudes, biases, and stereotypes. Click here for the demonstration site for the Implicit Association Test.
Mahzarin Banaji can show how we connect "good" and "bad" with biased attitudes we hold, even if we say we don't. Especially when we say we don't
Sally Lehrman | May 22, 2006
NBC News correspondent, Sara James, reports for Dateline NBC the psychological experiment, The Implicit Association Test, designed to reveal hidden "racial bias".
Broadcast Date: April 15, 2007
In May 2010 AC360° aired a four-part series on the results of a CNN pilot study examining how children view skin color. The goal of the CNN Study was to determine the status of children’s racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences as well as skin tones biases at two different developmental periods. Specifically, kindergarten children and middle childhood youngsters attending grade schools in either the Northeast or the Southeast regions of the United States of America were tested by same race female testers.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° teamed up with a renowned child development psychologist to measure children’s thoughts about race by recreating and updating the famous Doll Test of the 1940s. The original Doll Test explored how African -American children interpret race, discrimination and stigma. In the original Doll Test, Kenneth and Mamie Clark viewed the results as evidence that children had internalized racism caused by discrimination and segregation. The study was cited in the landmark Supreme Court Case of Brown versus Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in education. Sixty years later, AC 360° and a team of psychologists led by Professor Margaret Beale Spencer, designed and executed a pilot study to help us answer one major question: where are we today?
One conclusion our pilot study revealed surprised Spencer, who has been a leading researcher in this field for over 30 years, and that is that the research suggests that children set their opinions on race at a very early age and maintain those opinions. After watching this series, parents of all races, will see that children are not colorblind and that talking to them about race is crucial.
Watch video online: Anderson Cooper 360°: Study shows how children view race bias
Watch video online: Anderson Cooper 360°: Inside the AC360 doll study
TRUE COLORS – ABC News | Primetime September 26, 1991
In this startling expose, ABC News Prime Time Live anchor, Diane Sawyer explores skin color prejudice in America with the help of two friends virtually identical in all respects but one-- John is white, Glen is black. Together they take part in a series of hidden camera experiments exploring people's reactions to each in a variety of situations.
Acting within the scenario of moving to a new town, Prime Time Live, undercover, follows John and Glen separately as they each try to rent an apartment, respond to job listings, purchase a car, and conduct everyday activities such as shopping. The responses in both the white and racially mixed communities are shocking and consistent. In every instance, John is welcomed into the community while Glen is discouraged by high prices, long waits, and unfriendly salespeople.